Please recommend a developing tank for 4x5

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by BradS, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Hi,

    Am contemplating doing my own 4x5 (and perhaps larger one day) b&w negs. would like to process in daylight. What kind of tank / drum is recommended? I am looking for something that is easy to use, relatively idiot proof and, of course, economical.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    Brad.
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I don't think you can have all of those. I recommend Jobo 3000 series tanks on a generic rotary base.
     
  3. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I have found that the Combi Plan is good if you want a manual tank. I currently use Jobo 2500 series drum on a Jobo for 4x5 and smaller and a 3000 series drum for 5x7 and 8x10.
     
  4. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    I'll second Larry's recommendation fo the HP Combi Plan for a manual processing tank. I have been using one for several years and no complaints.

    gene
     
  5. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Brad,

    Unless you intend to process a large number of sheets on a routine basis, the simplest solution is to use a color processing drum. The 8 x 10 size will take four 4 x 5 sheets, uses minimal solution amounts, and meets all the criteria you have stated. Prices on E-Bay are very low; you should be able to get one for under $20. A motor base rotator won't cost much more. Personally, I recommend the Chromega brand, but others get good results with the Unicolor. Just avoid anything like a Cibachrome drum which has no means of keeping 4 x 5 sheets locked into place and separated and also has a completely smooth interior which doesn't allow solution to reach the base side of the film to remove any anti-halation layer.

    Nothing against the Jobo or Combi-Plan approach, but they more expensive and not quite as simple. For durability, consider that my Chromega drum has provided highly consistent and even development for over twenty-five years with no leakage problems. Check through the forums for other posts; this topic has been addressed before.

    Konical
     
  6. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Thanks! I just did a search of the APUG forums...I see what you mean. This is a recurring question. Mental note...search first, then ask.

    Thanks everybody for the recommendations.

    Brad.
     
  7. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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  8. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    I can vouch for the Unicolor drums, from personal experience. If you can get the motorized base, even better.
     
  9. Max

    Max Member

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    I was using a unicolor drum for 8x10 until I switched to tray development a few weeks ago - it works really well.

    I did have a small problem with increased stain/pressure marks/somethingorother along the ribs with Rollo Pyro (invisible on the neg, showed up in the print). Apparently Pyrocat works better in that situation, but once I got my Pyrocat, I started doing it in trays.

    Anyway, back to the point, I also suggest the unicolor system...
     
  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I bought some tupperware tubs for a buck each. works really great and I can do 8 negs at a time on hangers with no problem. Another benefit is I can seal up the tubs between sessions to keep the chemicals fresh.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Another option is the Nikor stainless steel tank, if you can find one. They often sell for around $130. It holds 12 sheets, takes 1200 ml of solution, and it's worked well for me, though every option seems to have its detractors.
     
  12. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Brad -

    There are a number of options - the Jobo system is great (but expensive). BTZS tubes are supposed to be very good, but I've not tried them. The Unicolor drum trick is also popular - I tried it once and ruined four sheets of film. Tray processing is the old classic - it's very simple and works well, but you so stand a chance of scratching the film.

    This summer I was in a workshop with Chip Forelli where he let us try his slosher. This is a plexiglass insert that fits into an 11x14 tray and holds 6 sheets of 4x5. The basic idea is to the tray into six distinct compartments so that you can develop up to six sheets at a time without any chance at all of scratching - because the sheets never touch each other. There are commercial options available, but Chip had made his own from plexiglass, and when I came home from the workshop, I also made one. Just finished processing six sheets a few minutes ago and they came out perfect.

    If you are interested, send me a private e-mail and I will forward the drawing that I made up in preparation for constructing mine.
     
  13. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Eric, I haven't done any developing of lf at all yet, and have just been trying to figure it out. I assumed I'd do my 4X5 in trays, one or two at a time. Would you explain about the tupperware and the hangers in a little more detail?

    TIA,
     
  14. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I agree. I posted a thread here about how to get teh best from them; others adding extra info. Even development and easy to use, if slow to fill.

    Tom
     
  15. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    For what it's worth, I (as a highly experienced LF photographer) have never gotten a ready-made small tank to work to my satisfaction. I have tried the big Nikor tank (the wrap-around clip scatched the back of the film), Doran (just how are you supposed to agitate?) and Combiplan (the slowness of filling alarmed me). I heard that Jobo drums were good but have not tried them. The only cheap solution that worked for me was the Tupperware option, but in the interests of speeding things up (doing 12 4x5" at a time), I in the end bought a line of 15-liter tanks. These of course take all sizes up to 8x10" and are economical on solutions - 15 liters of ID-11/D76 developer plus 2.5 liters of replenisher lasts me a year!

    PS: Another cheap solution was to make tanks by cutting down 5-liter chemical bottles and plunge the Doran cage (same as the one in the Polaroid bucket) into these suspended on a stainless-steel reel lifter and weighted with a film clip. I would as a general principle avoid developer/skin contact.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2004
  16. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I too use a Combi plan tank, having got lots of neg scratching with a Stainless Nikor tank. There are quirks which annoyed me to start with, but it has now trained me and we get along fine! Main thing is long time needed to pour in chemicals as noted previously, but to no adverse effect. I pour in and out through top vent to keep times as even as possible. Despite this, development is even. Once fixed, I remove top and fill far more easily for washing, pouring water onto central bar to reduce impact on film.